We saw yesterday that when Job prayed for his friends, who were miserable comforters, God relieved his suffering. We’re simple going to reinforce that idea with an example from the Psalms.
Psa 35:11-14 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not. (12) They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul. (13) But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. (14) I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.
Many people disappointed and mistreated David. They lied about him, and turned him in after he helped them. David hadn’t done anything to deserve this kind of treatment. They rewarded him evil for good. He described the effect of their mistreatment as “spoiling his soil.” They took something from him – they robbed his soul. That would have been enough of excuse to get bitter. Instead, David mourned and prayed for his enemies as though they were a friend or a brother. This showed extraordaniry character on David’s part.
We don’t know how David’s prayer effected his enemies, but he says that it returned to his own bosom. That is, David’s prayer for his enemies ended up blessing him. As we saw yesterday, God often works way – He blesses us for doing right, even when the right doesn’t change the people around us. Stephen’s prayer for his executioners is an example of this attitude:
Act 7:54-60 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. (55) But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, (56) And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. (57) Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, (58) And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. (59) And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. (60) And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
This was a heart attitude God could bless in a special way. God gave Stephen an extraordinary vision of Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God. (The Bible usually speaks of Jesus being seated at the right hand of the Father. Many scholars think the position of Christ is a token of respect for Stephen.) No long after that, Stephen’s vision was realized, as he was “absent from the bodhy and present with the Lord.”
What About You?
- Are you willing to pray for your enemies in the knowledge that God blesses those who do right?
- Do you believe that God could give you a clearer vision of Himself as you pray in obedience and faith?
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